A Federal 9th Circuit Judge Finally Finds a Right to Bear Arms in Public

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Paul Murphy is a resident of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. He is not an attorney but despite the nearly insurmountable barriers the courts have erected in order to prevent persons who are not attorneys from succeeding in their lawsuits to overturn unconstitutional laws, Mr. Murphy accomplished what no attorney has thus far managed to do in the eight years since the US Supreme Court issued its landmark decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment is an individual right unconnected with service in a militia. He succeeded in overturning a law which banned the carriage of firearms in public.

From the Courts decision published on September 28, 2016:

Seal of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Seal of the Northern Mariana Islands

Murphy next challenges the Commonwealths public carry ban and transportation restrictions on firearms. See 6 CMC 10206.31 To the extent that this statutory provision prohibits the carrying of a concealed pistol on a person, loaded or unloaded, it is upheld as there is no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon in public.

The Court finds that the Second Amendment secures a right to bear arms for self-defense in public. Because SAFE completely destroys that right, it is unconstitutional regardless of the level of scrutiny applied, and the Court must strike it down.

This Court’s ruling is based on the provision’s impact on the individual’s right to carry and transport an operable handgun openly for self-defense outside the home.

The first paragraph I quoted from the Court’s decision explains why the myriad of lawsuits brought in the 9th Circuit and across the nation have failed. Instead of challenging laws which prohibit or otherwise infringe on the Second Amendment right to openly carry firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense, these lawsuits have almost invariably argued that there is a Second Amendment right to carry a weapon concealed in public.

Mr. Murphy did not seek to carry a weapon concealed in public nor, unlike the so called gun-rights attorney in their concealed carry lawsuits, he did not claim that Open Carry can be banned in favor of concealed carry.

Every Federal Circuit and more than a few state high courts have held that there is no right to carry a weapon concealed under either the Second Amendment or their state RKBA provisions.

None of them has held that there is a right under the Second Amendment to concealed carry.

Vindicating the right to openly carry a firearm in public for the purpose of self-defense is a tremendous victory in and of itself but Mr. Murphy succeeded in striking down the $1,000 excise tax on handguns, he succeeded in striking down the firearm registration, the ammunition ban and the assault rifle ban.

Because Mr. Murphy is not an attorney he is not entitled to collect attorney fees.

The Commonwealth has not said whether or not it intends to file an appeal.